DEAR MR MOODIE... WHAT'S BETTER FOR CURLING HAIR: STRAIGHTENERS OR CURLING TONGS?

Ph: Benny Horne for Vogue Spain, Hair: Neil Moodie

Ph: Benny Horne for Vogue Spain, Hair: Neil Moodie

31st July 2019

A reader writes…


Dear Mr Moodie,

My hair is naturally super straight but I love soft, glamorous curls. I’ve learnt to curl my hair with straighteners thanks to YouTube tutorials but now I’m thinking if I should invest in a pair of curling tongs instead. I’ve only used straighteners to curl my hair because I was gifted a pair but now I’m wondering if curling tongs are easier to use and if there’s any real difference between the two - please can you help?!

Thanks, Sally with the straight hair

HI Sally,

Many thanks for your message. This is a very good question! Since the birth of the ceramic straightening iron in the 90’s, curls went out of fashion for a while, and when they started to appear again as a trend it first became all about the beach wave.

As millions of people had bought straighteners, the straightening iron companies soon cottoned on that their sales could dip massively so they decided to invent straightening irons with more of a curved edge, meaning that waves and curls could be created in hair too with the same iron. This was a clever move as it meant from a marketing point of view they didn’t suddenly lose all their customers, plus many of the general public had become so used to using their irons, that altering their technique slightly wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Now a lot of these companies have since produced curling tongs also.

Screenshot 2019-07-30 at 08.32.41.png

As a professional hairstylist, I would never use a straightening iron for waving or curling hair, as I prefer to have fully formed waves or curls created by a rounded shape hair tool. I also like to be able to predict what shape curl/wave i’m going to get, which the size of your curling tong determines for you, much more than a straightening iron ever would.

Whilst I don’t want to poo-poo the straightening iron curls and waves, I just don’t like the form that the hair takes on afterwards. For me it’s like a flattened out wave or curl. Now I’ve noticed recently that some celebrity hairstylists have been promoting this flat wave, but I just don’t like it, and I don’t get it - SORRY!

I did ponder for a minute whether it was me being stubborn about a new trend, but what I’ve realised is that if you’re going to do a wave or curl in your hair, it’s because you want more volume and fullness, so why would you want to make that flat?

Hair: Neil Moodie

Hair: Neil Moodie

Sally, there are also numerous tutorials on Youtube showing you how to curl and wave your hair with a curling iron (mine included: This is the 4 different ways to curl your hair) plus I would suggest to invest in a great pair of curling irons. There are many irons on the market, including wands, which are easier for a consumer to use, plus the new GHD Oracle, specifically designed with consumers in mind. Dyson have also brought out one too known as the Airwrap Styler, although I personally think it’s way too expensive and I’ve not been sent one to try so I cannot give you my opinion on that unfortunately.

( There are mixed reviews on the Dyson Airwarp which you can watch on Youtube also)

Below is a list of the curling irons I would recommend, and a word of advice when it comes to curling:

Ph: Lindsay Watson Hair: Neil Moodie

Ph: Lindsay Watson Hair: Neil Moodie

When learning to curl hair as a hairstylist, it takes us a few weeks to really master the techniques. Straightening hair with a straightener is a lot easier, and I cannot stress enough about being patient with yourself if you’ve never used a curling iron before. As hairstylists we don’t learn the techniques in 2 minutes, so don’t expect that from yourself either, especially as a non professional. Learning it is a bit of a process, and you will thank me and yourselves for taking the time and the patience to perfect it a little.

I hope that’s helped Sally and happy curling.

My Recommendations-Curling Irons:

GHD Oracle: Click HERE for info

GHD Curl Tongs and Wands: Click HERE

Babyliss Pro Tongs & Wands

Gamma Plus Wand - coming soon